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Oldcastle
Oldcastle
86

done, if he did it at all, about this time. He was made prebendary of Bedford Minor in the cathedral of Lincoln, and of Dunford in the cathedral of Lichfield in 1551. When Mary came to the throne he fled. He seems afterwards not to have been altogether satisfied with his conduct at the crisis, for he confesses that he had left his vicarage 'somewhat before extreme trouble came' (A Confession, &c.); but he adds that there were other reasons than fear. He does not seem to have left England at once, as Becon has recorded that Old entertained him and Robert Wisdome when they were in hiding (Becon, Jewel of Joy). When Elizabeth succeeded Mary, he must have been dead, as he was not restored to his prebends.

Old took part in the translation of Erasmus's 'Paraphrase of the New Testament,' London 1548, fol.; his share embraced the canonical epistles. He is said to have afterwards translated the books themselves. He also published a translation of five of Gualter's 'Homilies,' under the title of 'Antichrist,' London, 1556; republished as 'A short Description of Antichrist' in 1557. He edited 'Certaine Godly Conferences betweene N. Ridley... and H. Latimer,' London, 1556, 8vo; another edition, 1574. He wrote: 1. 'The Acquital or Purgation of the moost Catholyke Christen Prince, Edward VI,' Waterford, 1555, 4to. This has been said to have been the second book ever printed in Ireland, but it seems more probable that, like most of the books of the same kind, it appeared really at Antwerp (cf. Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. iii. 29). 2. 'A Confession of the most Auncient and True Christen Catholike Olde Belefe,' Southwark, 1556, 8vo.

[Strype's Cranmer, i. 397, Memorials, n. i. 47, &c.; Le Neve's Fasti, i. 597, ii. 110; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 664, Fasti, i. 101; Acts of the Privy Council, 1542-7, p. 479; Colville's Worthies of Warwickshire, pp. 553-4; Becon's Works, vol. i. p. ix, ii. 422-4, Cranmer's Works, i. 9, ii. 63, Ridley's Works, 151 (all in the Parker Soc.); Dixon's Hist. of the Church of England, ii. 481.]

W. A. J. A.

OLDCASTLE, Sir JOHN, styled Lord Cobham (d. 1417), came of a family of consideration, who were lords of the manor of Almeley near Weobley, in Western Herefordshire, and whose estates touched the Wye at Letton (Cal. Inquis. post mortem, iv. 124). A parcel of their lands in Almeley was called Oldcastle, and this, no doubt, was the mound beside the church on which ruins were still visible in the seventeenth century. The name Old Castle, which was probably derived from some ancient, perhaps Roman, fortification, which had disappeared by the fifteenth century, is still, or was until recently, attached to a farmhouse occupying the site (Robinson, Castles of Herefordshire, 1869, p. 3; cf. Kelly, Directory of Herefordshire). It is probably unnecessary then to suppose that the family had ever been connected with the small village of Oldcastle in the north-west corner of Monmouthshire, which one tradition has confidently pointed to as the birthplace of Sir John Oldcastle. Oldcastle has been claimed as a Welshman (Archæologia Cambrensis, 1st ser. i. 47; 4th ser. viii. 125). But of this there is certainly no proof, least of all in the fact, if fact it be, that he was known among the Welsh as 'Sion Hendy o Went Iscoed,' which is a mere translation of John Oldcastle of Herefordshire. On the other hand, it is quite likely that a family living so close to the marches, even if originally of purely English extraction, would have Welsh blood in its veins, and some might fancy that they could detect Celtic traits in his career. Of that career practically nothing is known prior to 1401, and even his parentage and the date of his birth are unsettled. According to the pedigree which Mr. Robinson gives in the work quoted above from the 'Visitation' of 1589 (?), he was a son of Sir Richard Oldcastle, and a grandson of the John Oldcastle who represented Herefordshire in the parliaments of 1368 and 1372 (Return of Members of Parliament, i. 179, 188; cf. Cooke, Visitation of 1569, ed. F. W. Weaver). Thomas Oldcastle, who held the same position in 1390 and 1393, and was sheriff of the county in 1386 and 1391, was probably his uncle; he died between 1397 and 1402, having married the heiress of the neighbouring family of Pembridge,and his son Richard, who died in 1422, held lands in Herefordshire and Worcestershire (Robinson, Appendix, i.; Cal. Inquis. post mortem, iv. 65, 253; Devon, Issues, p. 299; Rot. Parl. iv. 99; Kalendars and Inventories, ii. 53).

Oldcastle's biographers have usually represented him as an old man of nearly sixty years of age at his death, and have placed his birth with some confidence in 1360 (Archæologia Cambrensis, 4th ser. viii. 125; Gaspey, i. 49). But the evidence available points to a considerable over-statement. Bale confused him with John, third lord Cobham [q. v.], the grandfather of his future wife, and thus erroneously made him the leader of the lollards in the parliaments of 1391 and 1395. These errors, and the way in which the fifteenth and sixteenth century writers played upon the first syllable of his name, have doubtless led to an exaggerated estimate of the length